07 January 2016

Most Remarkable DLSL Football Matches 1982-2011

After winning the Regional Go-for-Goal in 1987.

I hope to make this the first installment and hope to do more as I recall them. The matches are presented in no particular order.

DLSL 2 Colegio San Agustin 3, 1984

My high school team of 1983-84 was, excepting the class of 2010-11, my most instinctive passing team in three decades of coaching. Both teams strung together passes almost without thinking, each player seldom touching the ball more than two times. Collectively, both teams often just pinged the ball all over the pitch with touch passing.

I was still relatively new to coaching in 1984 and was still in the process of getting the balance between attack and defence right. However, my team played the most delightful touch football going forward, something accentuated by a rare visit by a team from Colegio San Agustin in 1984.

The possession statistics must have been at least 70% in our favour. We narrowly lost the game because we were, at the time, still defensively naïve and CSA score thrice on the counterattack. I do not believe any of my subsequent teams gave as fluid a performance going forward as this team did that day, although of course the result took the gloss off what had been an outstanding footballing effort.

I will also always remember this match for the presence of a cow close to the field; and a CSA corner had to be delayed because the CSA player would not go near the ball. If I remember things right, one of my players had to pull the cow away.

La Salle Greenhills 1 DLSL 5, 1987

In the Coca-Cola Go-for-Goal national finals a year earlier, we felt robbed in losing to LSGH in a classic smash-and-grab. LSGH defended with 11 bodies and scored the winning goal in what was probably their only meaningful chance of the entire match.

This RIFA match played in the rain in season 1987-88 was payback time. Sonny Cruz and Robert Samaniego scored a brace each in a swashbuckling performance that had LSGH reeling in their own turf. Two DLS brothers based in Greenhills who told us they seldom bothered to see LSGH play stayed the entirety of the game to watch us play.

I will also always remember this match for a gaping hole left on the knee of Danny Delgado by a stud of one of LSGH’s players. The blood flowed freely and it was all I could do to stop myself from fainting. LSGH’s clinic staff quickly whisked him away to be patched up as the game resumed.

Delgado was back in training the following week. These guys really had character.

The 1992 squad.  Most of these boys played in that wonderful 5-nil rout of UPLB.

UPLB 0 DLSL 5, 1992

My team of 1992-93 had the potential to become one of my best; but had weaknesses in certain positions and lacked options. Its peak performance was in the 1992 Regional Finals of the Go-for-Goal when the majority of the players were still in their junior year.

We had just defeated Colegio San Juan de Letran – Calamba, 18-nil, in the upper field for our opening game in the tournament and were told that we had 30 minutes to rest before meeting the home team UPLB. They had not played before and were fresh. The schedule was brutal; but that was just the way things were done in those days.

Naturally, I was worried that there would not be enough gas left to deal with hosts UPLB. My fears were soon laid to rest as the boys, if anything, played even better than they did in the earlier game against Letran.

The passing was sleek and controlled, dictated from the middle by Bryan Foronda, the team’s most experienced player. The goals, when they came, were also sights to behold. A national team player who was a guest of the organisers later praised the team’s passing game.

What a pity the match was not on television, because the boys’ performance was made for the boob tube – accurate passing on the ground, movement off the ball and marvellous goals.

FAITH never knew what hit them. We were ahead in 37 seconds.

DLSL 18 FAITH 0, 2011

I never apologise if my teams put opponents to the sword; or if people think they are not really any good. It is our job to bring them down without mercy; and theirs to keep us out. If we beat them by volleyball scores, the problem is theirs, not ours.

This 2011 match at home in the NCAA-South was remarkable not just for the scoreline but in the fact that we were ahead inside 37 seconds. From kick-off, we attacked down the right flank with rapier-like sharpness, the players exchanging one-touch passes and the move ending with Ezekiel Terrones feeding JV Medina for the opening goal.

I do not recall any of my teams having scored that quickly in competitive football.  FAITH never knew what hit them. They were so stunned that we were, if I remember right, three up inside 10 minutes.

Individually, FAITH’s players were not bad; and, in fact, there were two or three who I felt could have been good enough to play for us. The problem was that, collectively, they did not know just how to deal with the speed and accuracy of our football.

DLSU ‘B’ 2 DLSL 6, 1988

In preparation for the Go-for-Goal finals, I brought a team to DLSU to play against the university’s ‘B’ team. Although I brought along seniors like Eduardo ‘Tuteng’ Marasigan, Carlo Olmos and Felipe Calvelo, majority of the squad I brought along were juniors who would later compose the powerful 1989 squad. For all intents and purposes, this was an under-16 team.

The boys looked nervous initially because there was a large noontime crowd surrounding the field to watch the game. DLSU had taken an initial 2-nil lead, and some DLSL alumni watching the game close to where we sat were already beginning to offer their sympathies.

Once the boys soaked in the unfamiliar surroundings and adjusted to the small field, DLSU never knew what hit them. Marasigan started to orchestrate the one-touch passing, in the process getting a hattrick for himself. We scored six without reply, rescuing what had looked like a potentially losing match and turning it into a rout in our favour.

As soon as the match ended, DLSU’s Team ‘A’ players were already running after Marasigan to persuade him to play for the university after graduation. He did, and also went on to play for the national team.

DLSL 2 Ateneo 1, 1989

This was probably the most complete technical and tactical performance by any of my teams in three decades of coaching. Particularly, in the first half when the passing was sublime and movement off the ball was almost professional in calibre, I was stunned into silence and could do nothing other than to sit back and admire the football on the field.

Cut the performance off the LSGH pitch and paste it onto a stadium filled with people, and I could have been watching my beloved Liverpool FC playing. It was THAT good!

Erwin ‘Starlight’ Sibayan scored two goals in the first half so that we cruised in the second. Even though Ateneo scored from off a freekick, even that goal failed to ruffle our feathers. There was no way we were going to lose this game; and if the scoreline was close, it was because for most of the match, Ateneo was getting as many as 11 players behind the ball.

The late Chris Monfort, Ateneo’s coach, could not believe that we had lost heavily to DLS-Zobel. I told him we were incomplete and the boys were still coming off Christmas vacation. “And you guys just had to be complete against us,” he jokingly complained.




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